Region of Waterloo ION LRT – Stage 1

Rank 2024


Image Credit: Region of Waterloo

Industry Sector: Transit

Project Type: LRT

Project Value: $818 million

Funding Source: P3

Federal Funding: Building Canada Fund: $265 million

Provincial Funding: $300 million

Municipal Funding: $253 million

Province: Ontario

City / Region: Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge, Ontario

Estimated End Date of Substantial Completion: 2018

Transit options for the Region of Waterloo were debated at length before light-rail technology was selected instead of bus rapid transit. LRT offers the best long-term value for expanding the local public transit system. The region chose to use Bombardier as the supplier for the LRT vehicles based on an existing agreement Metrolinx had already approved. This agreement will allow the region to capitalize on a larger volume purchase, potentially reducing the individual cost of the vehicles, as well as the cost of spare parts and maintenance contracts.

This rapid transit service will shape the future of the community’s transportation system by bringing LRT in two stages. Stage 1 was expected to open in 2017, but was delayed to 2018 by issues regarding vehicle delivery and functionality. Stage 1 of the line includes a 19-kilometre LRT route from Conestoga Mall Transit Terminal to Fairview Park Mall Transit Terminal, with stops in downtown Kitchener, Grand River Hospital, UpTown Waterloo, both universities, and Waterloo Park. It also features a 17-kilometre route of adapted bus rapid transit (aBRT) from Fairview Park Mall to the Ainslie Street Terminal in Cambridge, with four stops along Hespeler Road. Stage 2 will see the BRT line converted to LRT, creating a seamless 37-kilometre service of 23 stops between Cambridge and Waterloo. Phase one was originally to open in late 2017, issues with the light rail vehicles to be used on the project has caused completion to be moved to spring or summer of 2018.

Project Owner: Region of Waterloo

Engineer: WSP (owner’s engineer: includes technical advisor, program manager and owner’s engineer role, phase one ESA)

Contractor: DBFMO Team: GrandLinq, including Plenary, Meridiam, Aecon, Kiewit and Keolis

Environmental Services: Golder Associates (environmental consulting engineers); Hatfield Consultants; Hatch (EA)

Other Key Players: AECOM (project assessment process team); Aon (owner advisor and construction insurance broker); BTY Group (lenders’ technical advisor); Golder Associates (construction); Infrastructure Ontario (procurement advisor); Hanscomb (EA engineer’s cost consultant); INTECH (insurance advisor); LeighFisher (lenders’ technical advisor); Englobe (geotechnical services, pavement design & quality assurance); Aon Risk Solutions

Financiers and Banks: CIBC World Markets (underwriter and bookrunner to GrandLinq)

Architect Names: PBK Architects (station stop design)

Vehicle Supplier Names: Bombardier

Supplier Other: Siemens

Legal: Blake, Cassels & Graydon (counsel to successful proponent); Fasken Martineau DuMoulin (advised lenders); Gowling WLG (counsel to Grandlinq); Norton Rose Fulbright (acted for Waterloo); Osler

2018 Rank: 60

2017 Rank: 59

2016 Rank: 59

2015 Rank: 59

2014 Rank: 53